It shouldn’t happen to a B&B owner

We try to make guests feel like they are in their home and relax and enjoy themselves, but sometimes their requests or actions are a bit strange

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I can’t tell you the number of times when I say that I run a B&B that people say, “Oh, so you have taken early retirement”. Many believe that running a B&B means after you have cooked breakfast and made a bed you live a life of leisure. That is far from the truth so I thought I would give you an insight into a day in the life of a B&B owner.

After breakfast on the guest’s final day you have said your goodbyes, and wait to get in to change the rooms for the next guest. However, that time comes and goes with guests still packing, or maybe just having a quick shower so normally it’s a lot later before they leave.

Then you are off, beds stripped and re made, towels changed, bins emptied, toiletries and refreshments refilled, and surfaces cleaned. You would be amazed what people leave: wardrobes full of clothes, phones, toys, and bags of rubbish and empty bottles stacked by the bins. A quick check of the watch as you need to nip to the shops for supplies, or maybe fit in a doctor’s appointment, but you must be back by 4pm when check in opens. Guests can arrive early in the morning; others will give you a time and arrive right on time (our favourite guests) and others specify a time but don’t arrive. Then you are in a dilemma, do you call to see if they are ok or accept they are admiring the views or underestimated the journey time? 7pm and no contact, so you start thinking about your dinner. Do you start to cook and risk being in the middle of eating when they arrive, or wait until they get here? It’s 9 o’clock and you decide its too late to eat so you have a snack, and finally the guests arrive at 10pm and say “sorry we are late, but we stopped off on the way and had a meal.”

We always try to make guests feel like they are in their home and relax and enjoy themselves, but sometimes their requests or actions are a little strange. I was asked once if a guest could practise their musical instrument, no problem, then the whole family came from the car with the entire brass section of an orchestra and practised for the next three hours. A fellow B&B owner was told by guests that they were naturists, and could they come for breakfast in the nude? The answer was no, but still wandered around the house naked. I have seen guests dipping Weetabix into their coffee, and European guests always want to try Marmite, but I have to catch them else they spread it about an inch thick on their toast.

Then, of course, any stay can be followed by reviews, in the main they are good and honest and constructive ones are always welcome. However, when you are marked down for not serving croissants (even though they are the first thing on the menu), the location (well I guess stunning rural views aren’t for everyone and no, we don’t have a shopping centre in walkable distance), or the bed was too small for a 6ft 8inch tall guest, you just have to smile and think you can’t please everyone.

However, what makes being a B&B host is pointing out secret hidden gems to your guests, talking to them when they come back from their day trips raving about the views and stunning places they visited, or when your guests get to see their first salmon leap, stag roar or a golden eagle fly overhead. To chat to overseas guests to learn about what they do and where they live is a wonderful experience and we have learnt so much about other countries and cultures and have an ever-growing list of places we want to visit. Many have even kindly invited us to stay with them. To be able to share this special place we live in with others and give them a holiday that they will always remember is something special indeed. Even better is when they return, and they greet you like old friends or send you Christmas cards and or just thank you for letting them come back and experience the magic again. How lucky are we to have a job like that?

by Tracey Smith, HOST Secretary

Last Updated on 10 September, 2021 by Kyle Chronicle

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